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Brooke’s Blog: Dermatology Questions and Answers

Dear Brooke: I live in Long Beach, Long Island. Every summer, I get itchy white spots on my chest and back. My regular doctor told me it is a fungus but I can’t remember the name of it. What is on my body, and what can I do to treat it? Thanks, Will Dear Will, It sounds like you have a condition called Tinea Versicolor which is a very common skin disorder in the male population. Tinea Versicolor is caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the body typically activated in the hot weather during the summertime. Some people are genetically predisposed to this condition, while warm, humid temperatures, or oily products causing oily skin can bring about the symptoms of Tinea Versicolor. Some symptoms associated with this condition are increased sweating and itchiness. Many people  experience symptoms on their  abdomen, back, and upper arms. It is less common to have symptoms on the face, scalp or genitalia. The color of the spots on the body can range from whitish to reddish brown in color. It is very common to experience itchiness where the spots are present on your body. It is also important to know that Tinea Versicolor is not a contagious condition, and you cannot spread your symptoms to other people due to physical contact. Often times, when you are exposed to the sun, the yeast prevents tanning of the skin which causes the white spots to appear where the yeast is present. Your health care practitioner can treat this condition with topical anti-fungal medications and/or oral anti-fungal medications. Usually, the symptoms of Tinea Versicolor resolve within a few weeks. However, Tinea Versicolor  has a high rate of recurrence, and it is common to retreat the symptoms with an additional course of topical or oral anti-fungal medication intermittently , and often times prophylactically. Don’t be alarmed if your skin still has white spots on it; this can take weeks to months to completely go away. Rest assured that your skin will return to its normal color overtime. Best Regards, Brooke Studley, RPA-C
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Schweiger Dermatology

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